The Idaho Grape Growers and Wine Producers Commission [Idaho Wine] has led the effort to gain recognition for Idaho wines, including shining a light on the state’s winemaking community, world-class natural resources, and the winemakers in this new frontier of U.S. growing areas. The Idaho Wine Commission engaged Red Sky in July 2009 to support the organization’s Idaho wine story by raising the profile of the quality and capabilities of Idaho’s vineyards and winemakers.
In collaboration with Idaho Wine staff, we created a unique media relations activity that promoted the Idaho Wine experience, drew attention to the individual wineries, and bolstered Idaho’s reputation as an emerging wine region of acclaim: the Idaho Wine Boot Camp.
The focus of the boot camp was to educate Idaho media about Idaho’s growing wine industry by bringing them face-to-face with local winemakers. Media members learned about the intricate craftsmanship Snake River Appellation winemakers bring to their crafts, leaving them better educated and better able to tell the Idaho Wine story.
By repurposing information in creative ways, reaching out to both bloggers and traditional media, and leveraging partnerships with Idaho Tourism and Downtown Boise restaurants, Red Sky and Idaho Wine stretched the budget into a multi-day event featuring four restaurants and 20 wineries. Nineteen media members attended, garnering great buzz and coverage and deepening knowledge of Idaho wines. Activities included wine tasting, barrel tasting, food pairings, grape stomping, wine blending, Q&A sessions with participating wineries and vineyards, winery and facility tours, and a vineyard management overview.
Each media member received a Wine Toolkit, which included background information on winemaking in Idaho and the Snake River Appellation. The toolkit also housed Idaho wine statistics, information about Idaho varietals, descriptions of Idaho wineries, a list of seasonal events, a guide to wine terminology, and a take-home list of wines poured during the Idaho Wine Boot Camp experience.
A total of 19 media members attended the Idaho Wine Boot Camp, ranging from newspaper and magazine reporters to broadcasters and bloggers. The Idaho Wine Boot Camp was the perfect setting for Treasure Valley media to ask questions and get story ideas. While the goal was to set the stage and build relationships for future media coverage, a half dozen stories came directly out of the event, and organizers received excellent feedback.
- Hands-on educational events create more engagement
- Strategic partnerships can enrich and expand events with limited budgets
- Creating valuable take-home content furthers the story